Shadows began in their hometown in Massachusetts as a five-piece back in 1997. They recorded their debut, Somber Eyes to the Sky, on guitarist Matt Bachand's own label Lifeless Records. The album got them much attention in their area, and son afterward signed a deal with Century Media. But that's not the point. This album, while little known, is still a great record filled with heavy yet emotional music. A common misconception about it was people had though that the band originally wanted to be a Death Metal band because Labonte's voice was a heavy scream borderline growl. This is not the case. They've said that with vocalist Brian Fair the band has achieved the sound they intended to produce. Anyway - these guys have next to no history before this, so I'm proud to say that's it!
Revel in My Loss - 4.75/5
This would later appear on the album Of One Blood, although I think they used a shortened, cleaned up version on that record. This one is heavy as hell during the vocals for the first few minutes. The several minutes after ward the some becomes purely instrumental, and a **** good one at that. Shadows Fall achieves great melodic heaviness even without vocals. Straight off we see why the band had thought to be death - Labonte sounds like Cookie Monster had just got done smoking a little grss. Actually, it sounds like he smoked the whole lawn :thumb: . A killer song and great start to an album.
Pure - 4.5/5
The intro kills. The 20 seconds that the guitar goes sound amazing. It picks back up later solidifying this as another excellent song. Strangley, even Phil's voice doesn't ruin the great song. Actually, I'de say he adds a nice heaviness to an already melodic instrumental. It goes on for almost 6:30, but once you get into the song you'll love every second. It might be on Of ONe Blood, but I can't remember right off the top of my head.
Lead Me Home - 5/5
There's no other way to say this. This song is amazingly beautiful. This is undoubtedly the best instrumental I've ever heard - it's amazing how much emotion they can convey in just one acoustic guitar (two in parts). I don't care what anyone says - you don't need lyrics to make a great song. This is definitely.
To Ashes - 4.5/5
After Lead Me Home, this song hits like someone duct taped a brick to thier hand and punched you in the nose. It starts of brutally heavy, but like a cosmic joke it goes back to the soft acoustic with Matt singing. But heavy or soft, this is a great song. As with Revel in My Loss, a cleaned up version of this appeared on Of One Blood. So far the album plays pretty solidly.
Nurture - 4.5/5
Alright, this song sounds pretty death. Obviously defined bass and blast beats make it one of the heaviest of the album. It's pretty consistent and doesn't have many of the sudden structure changes that Shadows Fall usually has. It's apretty solid song and good for someone looking for just brutality.
Fleshold - 4/5
Once again, a shortened (but not really cleaned up) form of this song appears on Of One Blood, although I think the OOB version is much better. For example, the singing in the beginning of the song doesn't appear later, but it really shows how much Matt's (and Jon's) voice has improved over the years. Brian's voice flows much better with the music, while Philip's just tries too hard to make it heavire than it should be. Still good though.
Eternal - 4.5/5
More of the wonderful lead and melodies seen in Pure, only this time its in the pure unshortened version. It's a really flowing song (despite Sesame Street being stoned for vocals :rolleyes: ). Whether or not it's a highlight - we'll have to wait and see at the end. A great song overall.
Suffer the Season - 4/5
More of the straightforward heaviness here, but not quite so death on this song. Enter Philip Labonte. We have another really song! It's not quite as good as the preceeding tracks, yet still sounds really good. Another consistent and non-surprising song, so pretty solid.
Somber Angel - 4.75/5
Starts off sounding perfect in instrumental acoustic form. At first i thought it was a good song. Then the other instruments come in, Phil starts screaming, and I realized I was wrong. This is a great
song. Everything from the vocality to the instrumentality fits just right for the song. Most likely a highlight, but I haven't decided yet.
Lifeless - 4/5
Nothing real special here, but a solid ending. Philip's vocals are actually a highlight here, giving a certain untrained energy and heaviness. The title makes me wonder if Matt had recently started his label when this record was recorded, but that doesn't matter. It's a pretty basic song but nothing to "sneer" (I hate that word) at.
I can't believe this album is so hard to find! This record is excellent. Granted, Labonte is nowhere near as good as Brian Fair, but I think the album deserves much more praise than it gets nonetheless. It really shows how much potential the band had straight from the start, and as of today they really take full advantage of what they have. I may have slammed Philip Labonte's voice too much, but it really doesn't sounds too bad. I'm probably just too used to Brian Fair's. Any fans of the band should check this out - definitely worth the time.
Revel in My Loss
Lead My Home
Final Rating - 4/5
Any Shad fan must